This is not exactly breaking news, but if you compare the Orioles at the All-Star break in 2016 and 2017, the Orioles of last year fare a lot better - both in team stats and when looking at several individuals, as well.
Despite a rotation ERA of 5.15 at the break last year, the 2016 Orioles were 51-36 as the first half ended and led the American League East by two games. The 2017 Orioles, with a rotation ERA of 5.75, are 42-46 and in fourth place, now 7 1/2 games back of division-leading Boston.
Let’s look at the offense and pitching through the break the last two seasons:
In 2016, the offense produced a slash line of .272/.333/.467 with an .800 OPS, scoring 5.08 runs per game and hitting 1.57 home runs/game. In 2017, the offense produced a slash line of .254/.308/.425 with a .734 OPS, scoring 4.45 runs per game and hitting 1.40 home runs/game.
The team ERA in 2016 was 4.35 with a 1.419 WHIP, .266 opponent batting average and .771 OPS. This season, the team ERA is 5.07 at the break with a 1.515 WHIP, .279 average against and .815 OPS.
If you look at some players at the break the last two seasons, we see Chris Davis down 63 points on his OPS and with 32 fewer RBIs. Mark Trumbo is down 185 OPS points and 14 homers. Manny Machado is down 203 OPS points and 88 points on his batting average. Adam Jones is down 35 OPS points and 13 RBIs.
2016: .237 average/.348 OBP/.497 slugging/.844 OPS with 16 doubles, 22 HRs, 58 RBIs
2017: .226 average./.320 OBP/.461 slugging/.781 OPS with 7 doubles, 14 HRs, 26 RBIa
2016: .288 average/.341 OBP/.582 slugging/.923 OPS with 16 doubles, 28 HRs, 68 RBIs
2017: .254 average/.316 OBP/.422 slugging/.738 OPS with 16 doubles, 14 HRs, 44 RBIs
2016: .318 average/.375 OBP/.569 slugging/.944 OPS with 29 doubles, 19 HRs, 53 RBIs
2017: .230 average/.296 OBP/.445 slugging/.741 OPS with 17 doubles, 18 HRs, 47 RBIs
2016: .304 average/.338 OBP/.509 slugging/.847 OPS with 23 doubles, 14 HRs, 52 RBIs
2017: .295 average/.347 OBP/.536 slugging/.883 OPS with 23 doubles, 18 HRs, 54 RBIs
2016: .268 average/.316 OBP/.460 slugging/.776 OPS with 14 doubles, 17 HRs, 53 RBIs
2017: .267 average/.305 OBP/.436 slugging/.741 OPS with 9 doubles, 15 HRs, 40 RBIs
2016: 15 starts, 1-6 with 4.15 ERA and .272 average against
2017: 19 starts, 5-7 with 5.85 ERA and .318 average against
2016: 19 starts, 12-2 with 3.41 ERA and .232 average against
2017: 11 starts, 1-5 with 7.90 ERA and .362 average against
The conclusion that Captain Obvious came to when looking at these stats is that several players need to step up their games in the second half for the Orioles to have much of a chance at the postseason. Again, not breaking news.
Buy or sell?: The Orioles are four games out of the second wild card right now, but there are also five teams between them and Tampa Bay, which currently holds that spot. Even if the Orioles made the wild card game they would be in another possible one-and-done scenario like last year.
With a rotation that has been so bad, the Orioles making a playoff run seems unlikely. That, for me, makes an attempt to trade for players problematic. Should the Orioles once again be trading players that could help in the future for players that might be minor upgrades now that don’t get them over the hump? That’s a no for me.
At the same time, selling off (trading) players probably can only truly have a big impact if the club trades stars like Zach Britton and Manny Machado, which they do not seem inclined to do.
So buying may not be a good option and the club is not ready, it appears, to sell. Is there a third option? Well, standing pat might be that. While this may not be an appealing option to some, it beats trading off prospect right now to take a long-shot to make the playoffs.
The Orioles start the second half Friday with a 10-game homestand. A 7-3 record brings them back to the .500 mark. Then they have a six-game road trip leading to the trade deadline.
Is there a trade out there right now for the Orioles to save their season? That seems very unlikely. The best play at the moment is probably to stay with what they have and see if certain individuals play better starting Friday to lead them back into contention.
It’s not exactly an exciting move, in fact it is actually no move. But it may be the best option for now.